Seventeen years ago, right after Rosh Hashanah ended, our doctor in Shilo instructed me to go to a Jerusalem emergency room. The head of Shilo security, however, informed me the roads were closed to all Jews, without exception. I miscarried at home and only two days later was able to travel to see a gynecologist in the Jerusalem clinic.
Thankfully, I suffered no internal damage. Being that I was almost forty-seven-years old it’s safe to surmise that the fetus was probably unhealthy and wouldn’t have survived even had I made it to ER. The fact that I did have seven beautiful children kept me from excessively mourning my terminated pregnancy.
At that time the violent Arabs were using the excuse of Arik Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount for their rioting. As the murders and maimings continued it became clear that the Second Intifada, as it came to be called, was planned well in advance. Despite everything, I never again let the threat of Arab violence deter me from what I wanted or needed to do. Until last week.
Twice a month on Friday mornings I have a commitment to work the hotline at Tahel, a center for abused women and children in Jerusalem. Before my shift my husband and I visit the Kotel. This past Thursday evening I organized myself to leave early the following morning and then I began receiving security messages.
The previous Friday, July 14th, three Arabs murdered two Israeli policemen on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount, known to the Arab world as Al Asqa, is their most popular mosque after the ones in Mecca and Medina. Israel reacted to the terror by closing access to the Temple Mount for two days. It was reopened with, of all things, metal detectors to prevent more terror.
How anyone could construe such security measures as an attack on Islam and freedom of religion is beyond me. Even more incredible is how the Waqf and others used the precautions against terror as an incitement to violence. Their refusal to use the metal detectors and instead pray outside Al Asqa seemed to me an exercise in absurdity. Did they really think doing so was hurting anyone besides themselves?
Apparently they did realize their refusal to pray at Al Asqa was not threatening enough. So they upped the ante and called on their public to amass outside the mosque and riot Friday morning. Israeli security began taking measures to protect the public. Messages were sent out in Shilo requesting that we not travel to Jerusalem Friday morning unless absolutely necessary. There was a serious concern that once busloads of Arabs were refused entry into Jerusalem they would riot on the highways.
It was not an easy decision for me to make but I did cancel out my shift at Tahel. Whatever good I could do volunteering would be canceled out by the extra strain I’d put on our security network. I prayed that at the end of the day I would look at the news and see all had been calm and think what a shame it was that I’d given in to Arab threats.
And indeed, as I unplugged from the computer and lit my Shabbat candles I was relieved that all had been quiet on our roads. It was only twenty-five hours later, when I plugged back in to the news, I read of the tragic terror attack in Neve Tzuv. An Arab, goaded by all the incitement, climbed a security fence into the village Friday night, managed to enter a home, and stabbed four people. Three, a father and his son and daughter, were murdered. His wife is in critical condition.
Recently, while listening to a Torah lecture by Rabbi Ari Kahn, I learned that a good litmus test for what’s holy to the Jewish people is to look at what the nations of the world wish to take away from us. His examples were the legislation against brit milah and kosher slaughtering in various countries. More timely is the desire to eradicate all Jewish presence from the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and eventually all of Israel.
Soon we will be beginning the nine days of mourning leading up to the fast of the Ninth of Av, which is August 1st this year. For thousands of years we have grieved over the loss of our Holy Temple that once stood on the Temple Mount. As we stubbornly continue to mourn we know, no matter what UNESCO, the Waqf, or anyone declares, the Temple Mount is holy to us. We will continue to mourn until the day the Holy Temple is rebuilt. We will not stop praying for that to happen.
In the meantime I pray that the surviving members of the Solomon family will be able to find comfort. I pray their mother will have a full recovery. I pray all terror to all people will end. I pray that I’ll be able to travel to Tahel this week. And I pray that our government will not give in to Arab blackmail. If metal detectors can used be in Mecca and at Yankee Stadium there’s no reason why they should not be on the Temple Mount.